Hard lessons

For years governments have been trying to get more students – and girls in particular – to take up science at university. But judging by today’s OECD figures, their efforts are having little effect.

Just 4% of graduates have degrees in maths or information science – subjects which are essential in our technological age. There are two things the government can do to achieve this. Firstly, it can do the obvious and up the amount of money it spends on education and use the extra cash on bringing in good science teachers (and especially women, role models are vital) at secondary school and giving them proper facilities. One hour of practical chemistry a week does not make a science graduate.
Secondly it should tackle the curriculum. Get rid of all that wishy-washy social studies stuff and stop this ridiculous attachment to Latin and ancient Greek.
After all, are all those Media Studies majors really contributing to the Dutch economy? If the government really wants to boost innovation, it should get rid of old-fashioned notions about education for education’s sake. Today’s universities should focus on subjects which actually contribute to economic growth, instead of producing even more communication experts to tell us all how much we need to study science.

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